The Golden Knights of Central Florida knifed through the South Independent playoffs and into the Sweet 16 this weekend, beating Georgia Tech 99-3 Saturday in the semifinals and Middle Tennessee State 61-0 in Sunday’s final.
“It was a really good performance by the guys. Everybody came to play and we did a great job,” said UCF president Jason Ross. “Good coaching, everybody had their head on a swivel and we just kept it going.”
While UCF cruised through its semifinal, Middle Tennessee State staged a big comeback in its, overcoming a 24-10 second-half deficit to beat Florida State 29-24.
The Golden Knights went undefeated in the Florida Cup in the fall and in the South Independent regular season this spring. They’ve been unbeatable all year, but especially dominate as of late, despite what captain Gerhart Veit terms a lack of support from the team’s university.
“Toward the end of the season we were practicing on random fields, so I’m sure everyone feels great that despite a little bit of adversity we were able to pull through and advance,” said Veit.
“As the season advances everyone starts getting a good feel for each other. The chemistry’s good. As the year’s progressed, I feel like everyone’s on the same page.”
Veit was impressive on the weekend, leading the Golden Knights from No. 8. He scored four tries on Saturday and at least a couple of more on Sunday. His work rate and relentless play makes him an inspirational leader on the field.
UCF will face a new level of competition in the Knoxville, Tenn. region of the playoffs, with SCRC champ Tennessee and ACRL champ Clemson in the same group.
“Even though we’re playing really good rugby now and we’re beating teams by a pretty large margin, we’re still trying to keep ourselves at home and realize that it’s the playoffs and pretty much anything at this point can happen,” said Veit. “We always play the team that’s in front of us like it’s a championship game.”